Foreword: Had only 5 hours of sleep for the past two days, big crisis at work. It's tough working in a managed hosting line. As a result, I missed my appointment with the neurologist, and my headache came back. My family got pissed with me on missing the appointment (that I have waited for 3 months). And this blog post got delayed. *Sigh*... Welp, back to work. (^_^)v
Just when I thought I could escape the bland world of Chinese music (in Mando-pop and Canto-pop) that is riddled with loads of ballads, predictable music, shallow PR, and lame covers.... Hello! Project just came back and presented two Chinese girls, Li Chun (Jyun Jyun) and Qian Li (Rin Rin) as Morning Musume members to me. Funny how things come around. ^_^
To be clear, I am Chinese myself. What more can a Chinaman want, but to see a brethren of his own race taken to such a high degree of recognition. But I remain neutral on this. While a part of me is happy, the Momusu-otaku side of me is complaining.
Firstly, some news. Japan-Zone acknowledges the news and notes that the new girls will take dance, vocal and Japanese lessons, and will blend in with the Momusu members easily. While Hello! Online notes that while the China-dolls are inducted, they will not be part of the next Morning Musume next single "Kanashimi Twilight" on April. But they will officially debut and introduced to the fans on Yoshizawa Hitomi's graduation on May. Some long period for image training, voice coaching and dance drills perhaps? H!O also notes initial reaction by Yossie - absolutely shocked. Heh! Who can blame her? Tomorrow's Hello! Morning episode will be interesting indeed. ^_^
Fellow bloggers of the CoP militia have mixed responses to this. Since we're linking each other here, allow me to return the favour. First, Ray analysed the matter from a broad perspective, Tom remains unsure, Julia takes a look at the big picture in a favourable light, Pengie is familiar with Jyun Jyun, and is worried that they maybe become another Coconuts Musume, Kd has mixed reactions, Hunterx17 is pissed, Japtard thinks Jyun Jyun is cute, Bene is excited, and RadP is stunned. If I missed out anybody, please head over to the Feed of Pop to check out the rest.
As for me, I am surprised with this decision. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Tsunku has a huge appetite, but I think he may be biting off more than he can chew.
We all know Tsunku has ambitions to advance to the Asian market as announced in the Happy 8 Audition. By but "Asia", what it really meant is "East-Asia". Otherwise he would have chosen some girls with Indian descents to sing Morning Curry and Koi no Dance Site to make the transition easier. ^_^ As in all sales and marketing strategies, the best first step is always your neighbours and the ones around you. Tsunku chose China. (He has already invaded Korea with Goto Maki and affliating with Harmony Promotions by taking in Sonim.)
This be not the first time Tsunku has tried the Chinese market, and I think a lot of us can recall several examples. I would like to highlight Ji Minjia, also widely known as "Jia Jia" (notice the pattern? ^_^), whom he took under his wing in TNX, starting with an anime opening song for The Galaxy Railways. Jia Jia also took part in "The Japan-China Exchange Year of Culture and Sports 2007" as representive from China for the opening act in the Super Live event a few days ago. Jia Jia also doubles as an "ecological ambassador" from China.
We always say that Morning Musume has a "National Idol" tag in Japan, and as we all know, there were many political undertones in their work (ecology campaign, political campaign) and in song (Love Machine). As you can see, this time it's not any different - UFW is moving alongside with Japan-China relations policy.
The idea behind the mentioned Japan-China relations policy, while serving to improve the relations between the two country, it is also, in my opinion, used to reconcile the past war sins of Japan to China. Because China still have bitter memories of the Japanese invasion and occupation in World War 2. And so that Super Live was born, to use music as a universal tool for inter-cultural communication and promote good relations. I can almost hear the top guys in UFW say "What better marketing strategy than acquiring assistance of political influence?"
As you can see, the foundations are set already. And we know what happened next a couple days ago.
That said, I am half-supportive about Tsunku taking in Jyun Jyun and Rin Rin to join Momusu, even if they were dubbed "exchange student". Mostly due to my involvement in the Chinese music scene in the past. My take - good that Tsunku is ambitious, but he should tread carefully.
The Chinese music scene is a very wide and extensive, because there also Chinese in other countries. So by venturing in their market, it also introduces your material to other countries. BUT it also very harsh and unforgiving. Same goes for Japan. After visiting the Japanese blogs and BBS, I find that more than 60% of the reactions have been on the negative side. A lot of fans in Japan are angered over the intake of the two China-dolls, expressing that Momusu should stay 100% Japanese. I only visited a few Chinese sites, saw a mixture of positive and negative comments. I wonder if the overall reaction are the same as Japan. With that, I'm thinking that there may just be a chance that this move by Tsunku will backfire on him.
It's up to the guys in UFW to work on that. I would suggest that he move into the younger audience. My friends keep telling me that the younger generations in China have no problems with what happened in WW2, saying "the past is past". And it is most evident in Taiwan especially, where Japanese fashion and culture run amok in the streets. Lots of them are even pro-Japanese. Perhaps, on the plus side, we may get to hear more R&B and up-beat mainstream Pop music from Morning Musume.
Personally, I wish that Morning Musume stay purely Japanese. Create another Chinese Musume or China Musume or Chan Pon Chan Musume, if they have to. But on the other hand, I am intrigued to see on how this plan will work out. I mean, Mini Moni came out just fine, with Hawaiian born Mika in the mix.
This isn't the first time we have an inter-cultural group in Jpop. There was (now disbanded) Black Biscuits consisting of comedians Kyoya Nanami and Amazan, female vocalist Keddy(who joined later) and Taiwanese Vivian Hsu.
I enjoyed their songs back then in 1998, especially with jumpy, dance-able tunes of Stamina and Taimingu (Timing). But guess what was their ambition of this group ..... "Advancing to the Asia market". Unfortunately, they didn't last long enough to realize that dream. However, Vivian is fluent in Japanese, making her acceptance easier. Could this mean that there is always an ambition inside the of hearts of Japanese (showbiz) to conquer Asia?
For now, it's another "wait and see" situation for me. If Jyun Jyun and Rin Rin can emulate Mika's example in Mini Moni and Vivian in Black Biscuits, they might be able to fit right in. I'm still skeptical, but perhaps time will change my mind, just as my acceptance of Koharu-chan and Mittsi has.
Thanks for reading. Peace ^_^